The Importance of Meta Description Tags

August 11, 2009: Do Meta Description Tags matter in SEO?

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Meta Description Tags do indeed matter.

But, they do not help with keyword rankings.

When done right, a Meta Description tag will be used by search engines as the text that sits under the clickable title/text on the search results page, AND the keyword that you targeted for that page will be in the text and bolded.

Even more important, a well-written Meta Description Tag will encourage the searcher to take the next step and visit your Web site.  In essence, a well-written Meta Description Tag will increase the Click Through Rate (CTR) of your organic search listing.

How many characters should be used in a Meta Description Tag?

The ideal number of characters, including spaces, is roughly 140.  I have see references to a 160-character “limit” and to a range of 145 to 150 characters, but I feel that 140 characters is the optimal number to ensure that your entire description fits into the search result.

Aspects of a good Meta Description Tag:

  • 140 Characters
  • 25 to 30 Words
  • 2 Sentences
  • Mention of your Company Name or Branded Product
  • Value Statement – highlight the primary benefits of what you are offering
  • Call to Action – think of things like “free trial”, “download”, “subscribe”, “see statistics”, “submit”, etc.

Below are 3 examples of search queries that produced Meta Description Tags (or lack of) that provide a set of contrasts to analyze.

Note: The images in this post use the acronym “SERP”.  Definition: SERP = Search Engine Results Page.  It’s the page you see after you click the “search” button.

Keyword: crm software
Companies Highlighted:

crm-software
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Keyword: manufacturing software
Companies Highlighted:

manufacturing-software
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Keyword: data warehouse training
Companies Highlighted:

data-warehouse-training
click image to enlarge

Related Blog Posts:

  • http://www.becomeavonrepresentative.co.uk Claire Jarrett

    Great examples, I had always wondered exactly how and what the meta description was used for

  • http://www.2codeonline.com 2CODE Online

    This is exactly what we offer in our SEO packages. Thank you for keeping us up to date. Excellent blog!

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